Chickpea production is likely to be higher as the area expands this year.

India’s Kabuli Chana (white chickpea) production is likely to increase this year as farmers have increased acreage in key growing areas of Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra due to higher prices. Although cultivated areas have increased, the weather conditions in the coming weeks will determine the size of the harvest. Exports ahead of next month’s Ramadan were also good, trade sources said. “The cultivation of Kabuli Chana has increased significantly this year in all the major growing areas of the country. States like Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh are witnessing an increase in areas. Farmers responded to the record high price increase of about 150 rubles per kilogram by increasing the sowing of this year’s crop. Additionally, there was significant demand for Kabuli chickpeas both domestically and internationally last year, which further contributed to the price rise,” says Harsha Rai, director of sales at Mayur Global Corporation, an international agricultural commodity broker.

Monsoon Effect

Although crop area and conditions looked good, the weather in the coming weeks will be key in determining the size of the crop. Central India, known for large-scale cultivation of chickpeas, felt the impact of deficient monsoon rains. December was warmer than normal, but January brought cooler temperatures . Going forward, it would be interesting to see what crops we see in Central India as IMD has predicted a warmer February for the region. Rai said.

Farmers have expanded the area under Kabuli Chana as prices have been good at over ₹ 100/kg for most of the past year, said Suresh Agarwal, president, All India Dal Mills Association. That is why there is more production this year.

Bimal Kothari, president of the Pulses and Cereals Association of India, said that the harvest of Kabuli chana is higher this year due to increased area. Although there is no official data on production of Kabuli Chana in the country, trade sources estimate it to be around 3.5 lakh tonnes. Kabul chickpea production figures are combined with government Chana crop forecasts. India exports and imports Kabuli chana. India exported 68,654 tonnes of Kabuli chana worth ₹ 816.72 crore during April-November, according to DGCIS. In 2022-23, 1.21 million tonnes were exported, valued at ₹ 1,200 crore. India exports Kabuli chana to Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, among others. Chickpeas worth ₹ 518.72 billion were imported into Kabul from April to October of the current fiscal.

Old stock opportunity

Early start of Ramadan this year will keep prices the same this year. “Usually in December, January and February, kabuli chana prices fall when the new harvest begins in mid-February. This period is characterized by an increase in inventory liquidity compared to last year. However, this year was an exception to this trend and prices did not fall as expected in those months. This year’s early Ramadan, which begins on March 10, has had a major impact on the old grain storage market. This gave old granaries a unique opportunity to meet the needs of consumers,” said Rai.

The new crop, which is at the stage of pod formation in many places, is also expected in Maharashtra in mid-February and in Central India in March. “With the export demand from February and March already showing promising results, it will be interesting to watch the market development after April when the Mexican crop also enters the market”.

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